Bad habits affect your life, endanger your health, and deplete your physical and mental energy. But you already know that right? … then why do we continue with these harmful habits? Why can’t we change them? More importantly, is there anything we can do about it?
We all have harmful habits (I am not the exception) however there is something that has helped me to leave certain bad habits in my routine and feel better. It is true that breaking with insane habits requires a process, but above all it requires a correct strategy.
Here you find the answer to all the previous questions and this formula (that really works) to start changing those harmful habits that are taking their toll on your well-being. Start breaking bad habits today and keep reading.
Free download step by step to put this formula into practice and change your bad habits
“No matter how far you have gone in the wrong direction, there is always an opportunity to turn around and continue on a better path.”
Would you like to change a habit in your life?
If the answer is of course yes, you are in the right place, here you discover all this:
- Why haven’t you managed to break the bad habits that don’t let you have the life you want?
- How to detect these bad habits in your routine that affect your well-being?
- How can you change your bad habits with an effective formula that is very easy to put into practice?
But first, please imagine the following:
You are at home watching a movie. Even better; It is an exciting thriller and you are comfortably on your couch on the verge of nervous breakdown. The film is in the most important part: right in the scene where it will be discovered who the real murderer is, but suddenly, the television goes out, … there is no light!
Everything is completely dark, you stumble to take a few steps and walk towards the kitchen (where you keep the candles) and when you get to the kitchen you press the button to turn on the light … after a few seconds still in complete darkness, your brain remembers that There is no light and of course you will not achieve anything by turning the switch on and off.
You downplay it and light a candle so you can call the light company and claim the awkward moment they are making you go through, especially since you won’t be able to see what happened to the main character of the movie.
Then you head to the bathroom, the moment you step foot inside, you try to flip the light switch again! You stand there wondering how such stupidity can happen to you twice in a row.
The answer is simple: turning the light on and off is an automatic and unconscious habit. one
The important thing is that just as it happened with the light switch, only when you become aware of those habits (good or bad) is when you can do something about it to change them
So NOT being aware of bad habits is the first reason that explains why you have not managed to eliminate them from your life.
Since habits are automatic, many times you fail to realize that it triggers them.
Hence the importance of doing an analysis to detect the habits you want to change. And this is good news because, if you are able to realize that bad habit, you are able to change it in your favor (something that we will put into practice later)
However, there are many other reasons that prevent you from eliminating bad habits and it is very important to know what they are so that they do not become future mistakes.
Why can’t you eliminate bad habits?
Precisely in the question you find the second reason.
- Trying to eliminate your habits doesn’t work
Let me start with a news story: eliminating your habits is NOT possible
You read correctly, it is not possible.
Any habit in your life, whether healthy or not, is permanently stored in your brain and cannot be removed. 2
Wait, do not go!
The above is actually great news: The healthy habits you build effectively starting today will have long-term benefits – they won’t be erased from your routine!
However trying again and again and again to eliminate bad habits is simply a strategy that has prevented you from achieving the results you want.
Also, trying to eliminate the thought that leads you to fall into that bad habit only makes it much more recurring in your mind. 3
It is like a paradox. Your brain scans your thoughts to detect if this “thought to be eliminated” appears, but in the process, boom! That thought comes to your mind over and over again.
If you want to stop drinking coke and try to suppress this gooey craving in your mind, your brain will make it more consistent.
As you can see, trying to eliminate your bad habits just doesn’t work. But, there are other popular strategies that are also not helping you change your bad habits …
- Can you imagine only the result and not the process
Have you ever read that just imagining your life with better habits will do exactly that?
For example: if you want to lose weight, imagining yourself in that swimsuit running on the beach will make it easier for you.
And although it sounds very nice and makes you feel better, it has been seen that this strategy simply does not work to achieve your goal effectively.
It can also be harmful, since it does not allow you to assess the process. And this happens because your mind is “satisfied” by imagining the end result and subtracts the urge to improve your habits.4
So forget all the previous strategies forever and better follow the steps of this effective formula that does work .
It is time to be aware of those bad habits that subtract well-being in your life.
How to detect harmful habits?
It is likely that you already have a kilometer list of those harmful habits that you want to banish from your daily routine.
But, if it is not, I advise you to do it, because being aware of these habits is the main step to modify them in a healthy way. 5
To help you, this is the definition of a bad habit:
Bad habit: a repeated action that directly or indirectly affects your well-being or health.
- But wait, why do we have bad habits even though they affect us?
I’m glad you ask.
The interesting thing is that unhealthy habits have very short-term positive rewards for our brain, which makes us fall over and over again and it becomes difficult to erase them.
This reward can be: a pleasant sensation or the momentary relief of a feeling. Sometimes the reward is about physiological or psychological reactions.
These are the parts that make up a habit (good or bad):
For example, suppose you have an unhealthy habit of drinking soda. As we all know, the amounts of sugar contained in a soft drink are extremely high. Sugar can be stored in your body as fat and over time increase your weight. Consequently, the risk of suffering from some diseases increases. An end that no one wants to have in their life.
The problem is that drinking soda was stored in your brain as a habit, through a reminder or trigger, and a short-term positive reward. 6
- Reminder: Thirst worked as a reminder that motivates you to go to the fridge and look for that red can.
- Routine (habit): Drinking soda is actually the habit itself.
- Reward: The sensation after drinking and the spike in your blood sugar reward your brain in a positive way.
At the moment when an action becomes a habit , our brain strongly associates certain reminders with certain rewards, such as what happened in the example of the start with the light switch.
Which means that bad habits are present in your life for a specific reason, that is, they respond to certain needs (decrease stress , quench a craving, quench thirst) and therefore, trying to eliminate them is not the best way to deal with them.
Therefore, the first step is simply to be aware that even if they have a “positive reward” disguise, they are actually harmful habits for your health.
Detecting them early is key to changing those harmful habits.
And guess what? it’s time to take action
Write a list of bad habits here
Take a few minutes to detect them is the first step because many times bad habits are hidden or disguised and it becomes difficult to catch them.
Take a sheet and pencil or just write here a list of bad habits you have in your routine (no one else will see your answers):
A study analyzed how effective it is to detect habits to try to change them 7
Participants were asked to write down the bad habits they were trying to erase.
These included some unhealthy activities like eating junk food, procrastinating, going to bed too late, drinking alcohol, and even partying continuously (you can see they were students).
The researchers then gave them notebooks for them to write down when, where, and how these habits appeared. What the researchers found was that recording the timing of these actions was key to effectively replacing bad habits.
And that’s what we’ll do next to put this effective formula into practice.
The formula to change your bad habits
The formula is simply about replacing bad habits with healthy habits and that’s it.
That is, to eliminate “bad habits” you need to replace them with “good habits” that generate the same reward.
Replace your bad habits with this effective formula …
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It will seem complicated at first, but it is very easy.
You just have to find a healthy activity that can replace that habit. Over time this new action will take the form of a habit and will overcome the old habit.
-And what will happen to this insane old habit if it is not possible to erase it completely?
Unfortunately, that habit will remain stored in your memory. It will be there dormant, waiting to be reactivated at any time, but weakened enough for the new habit to take power.8
Fortunately, many of the habits you want to change have a healthy replacement. For example: eating a piece of fruit instead of sweets, reading this blog instead of watching television, drinking fresh water instead of soda.
The strategy of replacing one habit with another is a very effective therapeutic strategy used by professionals to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (a disorder with out-of-control habits) 9
The strategy of replacing a “bad” habit with a “good” one, helps these patients to take control of their unconscious habits and in the same way is useful for you.
First you have to realize that habit you want to change, then you have to become aware of the moment that habit is triggered, and finally find an action that best replaces it.
This is the step-by-step to put it into practice:
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- Step 1: Select a bad habit to change from that long list you made a few paragraphs ago
- Step 2: Describe it in a very specific way, it’s like the villain’s spoken portrait.
To achieve this you will probably need to analyze that particular habit for a few days (take the necessary time)
– When, where, at what time or with whom is it more common for you to fall?
– Do you have a specific state of mind when you fall into this bad habit?
– How do you feel or what sensation do you experience immediately afterwards?
After this analysis you will then have the signal that makes you fall into this bad habit (the reminder) and the final reward (or immediate benefit you receive). Remember that bad habits also have very short-term rewards.
- Step 3: Now you just need to replace this bad habit with a better and healthier action
- Instead of having your usual sweet bread for breakfast, better a toast with avocado
- Instead of watching TV until midnight, start listening to an audio book
- Instead of having soda on your food, buy bubbly sparkling water
- Instead of watching your afternoon series with potato chips, eat nuts like pistachios or almonds.
- Instead of taking the elevator, go up the stairs (or at least some steps)
- Instead of procrastinating with a YouTube video, write the steps you have to follow to finish your task.
From now on when you find the same reminder, change and test your new selected activity
It is all a matter of being aware of that bad habit, the moment you are about to fall or even when you have already fallen you have to test this new action. But, if you fall into this bad habit once again, do not blame yourself, remember that giving up bad habits takes time and effort, but above all it takes consistency.
Gradually your brain will learn this new pattern of behavior and the bad habit will be buried deep in your mind, while the new healthy habit will take over.
– But Tania, what happens if I can’t find any action that can effectively replace the bad habit?
Incorporating a new healthy habit will make your whole routine better
This formula can be complicated for those bad habits deeply rooted in our daily routine, but, if it gets complicated, don’t worry! there is always a plan B.
In this case it is about incorporating a new healthy habit into your life. That easy.
Whether it’s starting to exercise , meditating, or dining on a salad, creating any healthy habit has the power to unleash a healthy effect in all areas of your daily routine.
This article talks about this effect and this other article too.
Don’t forget to download your template with the step by step to put this scientific formula into practice!
I would love to hear from you and help you, tell me in the comments what bad habits will you be changing with this formula?